What brought the band together?
James Bohannon: Conor and I went to grade school together in New York. We grew up together, went to middle school together, so we've known each other since kindergarten and just played music as kids on acoustics growing up and things like that. Nils and I, we met in high school. We went to high school together and we were in a band together in high school and worked on some recorded music there and played live shows and things like that.
Why call yourselves VHS Collection?
Basically, we wanted to choose a name that was representative of our sound and our generation: we figured with the VHS medium, we're the last generation to really know and appreciate it. We all grew up with VHS tapes, you know, having VHS collections and you go to someone's old country house or something and they have a ton of old VHS tapes; that was just kind of what we grew up on to watch movies, and so that was a fitting name for us. We figure, even generations behind us, people a little bit younger, they won't even know what VHSes are and they were such an integral part of our childhood and growing up, so we felt that name was appropriate. And we like the 'collection' element, like, collection of different themes and things like that, so that's how the name came.
Who are you musical influences, individually or as a band?
Individually, I think a lot of Talking Heads, LCD Soundsystem, Modest Mouse, Phoenix, M83, St. Lucia a lot, The National, yeah, that's probably a good start [laughs].
What's in your playlist right now?
I'm listening to a Spotify playlist which is starting off with The National. So, I'm listening to a lot of Sea Wolf, The National, St. Lucia, Phoenix; Dr. Dog, I'm really into.
What was the inspiration behind your single, "Lean"?
"Lean" was kind of inspired by growing up - just a coming of age tune - growing up in the city and how much you end up relying on your friends. Your family is always there for you but, really, your friends are there on a day to day, they help you tackle the obstacles of the day, kind of wade through the things of growing up, so that was what it was really about: an ode to the friend. There's a lot of stories in there and references about places in New York and what friends are doing and things like that. Just a growing up, coming of age song, and the importance of friends as a role and a support system.
How would you define your sound?
Our sound as a whole is kind of a mix between a synth-y pop sound with kind of a rock backdrop, and then obviously a very narrative focus, vocal element. My singing is very character based - there's a lot of drama and character in the singing style - so it's taking some of those elements and putting it on top of a synth-y rock background, which isn't done too much; a lot of times in synth or electronic music it's kind of an inhuman singing style, so we wanted to kind of mix those elements. I think that's a good description.
Could you describe your EP?
I would say we wanted to always be focused on more. Because it's an EP, there's only three songs, but we wanted to show the dynamic of the three singles. I mean, they're a very different three singles. We wanted to show the variety of the type of music we have; "Lean" which is a very synth-y, pop-y, psychedelic song; and then there's "Late Night" which is a much darker, dance-y, more intense song; and then there's "Far Hills Cider" which is kind of just straight pop, a pop-y chorus. So, we wanted to kind of go on both sides of the spectrum, with "Lean" probably being in the middle, which is why we featured it as a single.
You're performing at Rough Trade in BK Friday and heading out on tour in 2016, do you have a favorite track to perform live?
I would say we love playing "Late Night" live. It just comes off really well, it's really smooth, it's kind of a good sing-along, so I'd say "Late Night" is one of our favorite songs to play live. The synth gets people dancing.
What do you hope listeners are able to take away from your music?
Really, just we want people to take away the lyrics and the message of the song: a nice mix of always pop-y choruses but with kind of a little bit darker undertones. And just, hope people have fun with them, enjoy them, hopefully they can spur a memory or some sort of déjà vu or feeling.
Is there anything you'd like to add?
This EP was just a small glimpse of our catalogue. We're really excited to put out our full album in probably the next 7 or 8 months and we're looking forward to being able to be a little more expressive in that, show a little more depth, a larger variety, and really get a little more experimental with the full record, whereas the EP is just a snapshot of three singles.